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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio proposes tax hike on wealthy to pay for crumbling mass transit system

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing a massive tax increase on his city's wealthiest residents to pay for repairs to the city's mass transit systems. De Blasio’s plan would need the approval of the New York state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for God's Love We Deliver)

The New York City public transportation system is falling apart and Mayor Bill de Blasio believes he’s found the cure: higher taxes on the rich.

De Blasio unveiled Monday a plan that would saturate NYC’s public transportation with $700 million to $800 million to fix existing problems and maintain the mass transit system, which includes an extensive subway system and a fleet of buses.

The New York Post reported that de Blasio has proposed a 14 percent income tax hike on the city’s wealthiest residents to pay for his infrastructure plan.

That tax hike would apply to individuals earning more than $500,000 per year or married couples earning more than $1 million per year. The tax rate would jump from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent annually. That means for an individual making $1 million a year, they would pay $2,700 more to the city annually. The plan would affect an estimated 32,000 city residents, de Blasio said in a statement released by city hall.

In addition to repairing and maintaining the mass transit system, $250 million raised under the proposal would help subsidize subway and bus fares for about 800,000 city residents who live in poverty, the Post reported.

"Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st century,” de Blasio said.

The progressive plan to help the transit system and low-income New Yorkers will likely boost de Blasio’s profile ahead of the mayoral election later this year.

The proposal comes just weeks after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) declared a state of emergency over the dire state of NYC’s subway system. In recent months, trains have become unreliable, often times “paralyzing” the city during rush hour periods, according to the New York Times. A recent train derailment even called into question the safety of the trains.

Cuomo, who is facing re-election in 2018, signed an executive order in June that declared the state of emergency. The declaration also pledged more than $1 billion in funding to the subway system and alleviated regulations that made it difficult for transit authorities to authorize repairs.

De Blasio’s plan would need the approval of the New York state Legislature and Cuomo. However, according to state Sen. Marty Golden, a Republican from Brooklyn, de Blasio’s plan is dead-on-arrival in the GOP-controlled chamber.

"If anything, the Senate will look to repeal taxes. And I can’t see the governor — especially coming into an election year — looking to raise taxes on anyone,” Golden told the Post.

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